Wild, wild westAugust 22, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 16 °C
Our last day in the Highlands. A choice between another day amongst the stunning mountains travelling through the eastern Cairngorms region or a wild west adventure following rugged coastlines and ancient mountain formations. We chose the latter and headed off in the direction of the Wester Ross route. This region includes some of the oldest mountains on earth (Torridonian rock is more than 600 million years old).
Passing through the majestic Glen Shiel region, we soon found ourselves in sight of the breath-takingly beautiful Eilean Donan castle. Touted as Scotland's most romantic castle, it's easy to see why it has gained this reputation. Built at the confluence of 3 lochs, it provided a strategic vantage point for its numerous occupants. A stronghold for the Jacobites (mainly Catholic Highlanders), it was destroyed on 1719 by English warships. Restoration in the 19th century by a couple of highly passionate locals resulted in the amazing displays today.
Much of the rest of the day was spent negotiating the many single-lane roads that follow the western coastline and traverse the mountain ranges linking meadowed valleys. One spectacular mountain pass was Bealach Na Ba. Apparently featured on an episode of Top Gear, our little Fiat ably traversed the many twists and turns along this precipitous route. The view at the top was well worth the sometimes hair-raising experience, with marsh-covered mountain tops and spectacular ocean views.
Tiny villages nestled amongst the many coastal inlets dotted our route. Naturally, a sampling of the local ice cream was a must. It's hard to imagine making a living in such a small community, but it seemed to us that many were managing just fine in their little slice of paradise. Indeed, our contribution to the local economy continued with the purchase of some locally caught and smoked ocean trout - a simple an easy dinner after a long day on the road.
No visit to the Highlands is complete without an up-close-and-personal experience with the local cuties - Highland cattle. These large hairy beasts are quite content to munch roadside verges as yet another tourist snaps away.Read more